I was intrigued when The Management Association asked me to be a part of a panel that was made up entirely by HR recruiting professionals. Why would they want me—a marketing professional—to be a part of the discussion? The answer became clear as the session began.
I soon learned that recruiters employ marketing tactics to promote available positions and “sell” their company to potential candidates. We often think that candidates are lucky to work for our companies. But the truth is, recruiting for a position is a time investment and can carry a risk, in terms of finding, training and retaining the right person.
One of the key factors in attracting candidates is the overall look of your brand. How your brand is conveyed on your website is often the first experience someone has of your company.
One of the steps we take when building the brand foundation is to develop Buyer Persona Profiles for each buyer type. What we should also consider is a Persona Profile for potential candidates. What is their perception of the company and what value propositions do we have to offer them? This Persona Profile can then be used as a hiring tool time and time again.
Be sure to allow HR to sit at the marketing table during strategic planning. After all, they are your internal brand ambassadors, and they need to be included in a brand launch so they can effectively communicate the proper messaging to current employees, recruits and new hires.
Below are the questions I was asked during the panel, along with my responses:
You’re a marketing person, what do you have to do with recruiting?
- In today’s workplace, we are competing for sales AND for employees! We are increasingly being asked to “market” for employees. Recruiting is no different. Whether you’re “selling” someone your product or “selling” them to work for you, they need to be attracted to the brand and that starts with a great foundation.
- We start by helping companies define what we consider to be the foundation of their business, their brand story — who they serve, what they do, and why they do what they do. This is what drives their brand image, messaging, website and collateral. It also clarifies what makes an organization attractive to work for.
- We design websites with strong “work here” pages, and we showcase company culture throughout the site.
- We also often create supporting marketing collateral, including sell sheets, to assist the clients’ sales teams. We realized that styling job descriptions similar to these selling tools could help “sell” the position. Also, companies that recruit at schools can benefit from having branded banners that speak to the job-seeker audience versus the corporate booths that promote the company’s services.
How can companies assess/review their branding efforts as it relates to attracting candidates?
- While the interviewee must meet the needs of your company to come onboard, they must also choose your company back. So the who, what, and why becomes important for attracting the right hire.
- Before branding, you need to start by clarifying your mission, vision and core values. Understanding a company culture is increasingly important, especially when an applicant is deciding between two companies. This can be the differentiator to push you ahead.
- Once mission, vision and core values are decided upon, we begin defining the brand story. - Who are you? - What do you do? - Who you do it for? What is key for each buyer type including potential employees? - Why you do it? What is your purpose?
- Once we know the story, we can design the brand image to match the sentiment of your culture.
- We use this brand to build tools, such as a Corporate Snapshot, essentially the resume for your business, and a Brand Book, a home for everything from your mission and vision, to the services you provide.
What should companies think about having as “cultural” on their website? Should HR have influence into the website design/content?
- We interview customers, prospects and internal stakeholders before we design a site. Key department heads and HR should be included.
- Websites are often done in a vacuum, overloading the site with content about what we do versus a focus on what the users need to see — hence the term “user experience”. There doesn’t have to be a dedicated cultural page. Culture can be woven throughout the site with pictures and videos of staff.
What new trends in marketing should employers use for recruiting purposes? How should an employer tell “their story?” How can they stand out against the competition?
- Leverage video! We’ve collaborated with our friends at SkillScout to create video job descriptions. These videos outline what your job will entail, what it’s like to work in that organization and an introduction to the leadership team.
- We utilize social media to both promote job postings and to showcase culture. When first learning about a potential employer, prospective employees will often all “stalk” your social networks, along with your website. Additionally, we encourage employees to have brand consistency on their LinkedIn page that includes the brand story and keywords. It’s also highly effective when current employees share a job posting to their networks.
- Marketing automation is a drip campaign of sorts to keep a communication line open with candidates that have applied.
Action items to take back to the office:
- Become your marketing department’s BFF.
- Advocate for marketing to C-Suite.
- Go back and look at your Brand Story. Is it clear? Does it need to be addressed? Does it include mission, vision, values, and value propositions to employees?
- Examine your website. Does it accurately represent your brand? Does it showcase your culture and provide the information that potential candidates are looking for?
- Think about the tools that would help you and the sales team, and have a discussion with marketing about the effectiveness of a Brand Book, Corporate Snapshot, and Recruitment/Job Description Sell Sheets.
- Consider the use of video to showcase what it’s like to work there, job expectations and company culture.
- Leverage social to promote your company and job postings. Start by having a consistent brand message on all of your current employees’ LinkedIn pages. Provide available open positions to staff and ask them to share on their social networks!
Approach recruitment as though you are “selling” your business! Showcase why you are a best place to work to spike interest in your product and service. Employees want to work for a company they know, like and trust! If you missed out on this session and want to chat about your needs for a brand makeover, recruitment tools or campaign strategies, click here or just call Julie!
About The Management Association: The Management Association is a not-for-profit employers' association serving more than 1,100 companies and organizations. For more than a century they have provided human resources, compensation, legal, training and employee benefits services.